Two nights ago, I made beef stew (click here for my recipe), and it turned out exceptionally well. Mr. Handsome and I each enjoyed two helpings, but when it came time to clean up, the leftovers (enough for 2-3 additional meals) were still piping hot, so I set them out to cool while we enjoyed a relaxing evening together.
I think you know where I’m headed with this…
When I walked into the kitchen the next morning, my heart sank. There was my delicious stew, still sitting on the counter. The thermostat in our home was set to 69 degrees, which, according to the USDA, is in the “danger zone” for food safety.
Extremely disappointed in myself, I did what any self-respecting homemaker would do. Loading the stew into the fridge temporarily, I scoured the World Wide Web to determine if my masterpiece was salvageable.
(The forum titled “Help! I left beef stew in the kitchen overnight!” provided some consolation, as I realized I’m not the only absentminded cook out there.)
Unfortunately, I didn’t find a clear answer to my query.
I came across plenty of people trying to convince me that I would surely die if I even got within 10 feet of the “poisoned” stew (too late), as well as a bunch of ladies who confessed to having eaten meat that had been left out for days on end without experiencing so much as a hint of nausea.
My frugality canceled out my fear of food poisoning, so I brought the stew to a boil and served it for lunch.
And here we are today, with no sign of food-borne illness. I’d like to say that I’ll never, ever make the same mistake again, but I can almost guarantee I will…